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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Northstar Corridor Development Authority halves proposed commuter-rail route


Last week, the Northstar Corridor Development Authority (NCDA) approved a modification of the proposed Northstar Commuter Rail route — cutting the 82-mile route in half.

The board plans to seek state funding for a 40-mile segment between Big Lake and Minneapolis, Minn. NCDA officials eliminated a proposed extension to St. Cloud because recent data showed only the Big Lake-to-Minneapolis corridor would meet a newly implemented Federal Transit Administration cost-effectiveness index. All projects now must meet the criteria to receive federal New Starts funding.

"We all believe the entire route is a smart investment, [but] we also recognize that making the Big Lake-to-Minneapolis service available is an important step for our region," said NCDA chair Duane Grandy in a prepared statement.

NCDA plans to seek other funding sources for the St. Cloud extension, which the authority still expects to develop in the future.